The Sky is Probably NOT Falling

“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”

Proverbs 11:27

In the early 1990’s, social psychologist Roy Baumeister began exploring the negativity bias–the widely accepted belief that bad has a stronger impact on people than good. His team conducted extensive research, hoping to find situations where a single positive circumstance was actually stronger than a negative one.

They couldn’t find any.

In fact, Baumeister and his colleagues discovered that negative life events are typically three to five times stronger than positive ones. In other words, it takes four compliments to make up for one put down.

He lays it all out in his 2019 book, The Power of Bad.

Here’s my favorite take away: our brains are hard-wired to focus on bad, but the rational mind can take this in stride by finding the good.

Baumeister recommends a positivity ratio of 4 to 1 (4 good to 1 bad).

Finding the good isn’t a new idea; it’s as least as old as the 1913 novel, Pollyanna. In the book, a young orphan named Pollyanna uses the “glad game” to cope with the circumstances and sorrows of her life.

Here’s how to play:

Always look for something to be glad about in any situation.

This makes sense. Maybe it’s why gratitude journals are so popular, while keeping an ingratitude journal is a non-starter.

But let’s take it all the way back to the first century. The apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that God uses EVERYTHING for the good of those who love and serve Him (Romans 8:28).

“Child, I got this. It’s ALL good.”

God

Finally, brothers, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/23/the-sky-is-probably-not-falling/

God Doesn’t Make Junk

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Many people considered famous today were once oddballs who refused to do their art the established way. The painter Jackson Pollock laid a humongous canvas on the floor of his barn and dripped paint on it. The critics thought he was nuts–until people started calling it art. More recently, there’s Lindsey Stirling, who was told by the judges on America’s Got Talent that her unusual combination of dancing and playing the violin was not marketable. After being voted off the show, she took her skills to YouTube to prove the naysayers wrong. Her channel now has 12.4 million subscribers!

Personal expression doesn’t have to be justified to hold value.

Come to think of it, Jesus was somewhat of an oddball during His days on earth. His ‘art’ was unappreciated by the religious experts, but people with the ears to hear believed (John 1:12). He now has over two billion followers!

If Christ completed the good works God prepared in advance for Him to do, you can too (John 14:12).

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Dr Seuss

You are God’s workmanship, and God doesn’t make junk!

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https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/21/god-doesnt-make-junk/

God’s Social Media

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

Psalm 19:1

My uncle Wayne lived alone on a hardscrabble Texas panhandle farm.—a forsaken piece of packed dirt with more tumbleweeds than trees. His ‘home’ was a tottering old shack with a rusty roof, complete with natural skylights. The front pasture, lunar-like in its geography, was punctuated with scattered pieces of tired farm equipment.

But the ‘dead broke farm,’ as my uncle called it, was also a place of alluring beauty. On cloudless nights the stars were so thick it seemed you could reach out and touch them! And the crisp mornings were a great time to catch a dazzling sun rise from the precariously tilted front porch.

Finding myself so often immersed in God’s creation, it was overwhelming to consider where I fit into it all. There wasn’t always a Bible handy, so I stammered out a prayer–my paraphrase of Psalm 8:3

“When I see Your handiwork: the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth,
it makes we wonder why You’d want to know me.”

Regular David–me

Fast forward to the present.

These days, I am so ‘connected’ the only time I’m truly alone with God is when I’m asleep!

But all is not lost. Sometimes, early in the morning or late at night, I put my phone down, step outside, and listen.

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It’s enough.

“Holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.”

Isaiah 6:3

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/18/gods-social-media/

The Ultimate Mentor

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“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:17

I got my first life coach when I was fourteen years old. Orville Lambert was a 70 something year old deacon at my church who willingly volunteered to teach a bunch of middle-schoolers! Every Sunday morning he stood before us, his soft grey eyes meeting our stuck-up attitudes with a smile.

No matter what we threw at him during the Sunday School lesson, Orville always landed on his feet. He had the remarkable ability to answer any question with a higher caliber query of his own. And the final outcome was always therapeutic.

Like Orville, God asks great questions. The first one in the Bible occurs in Genesis chapter three. Adam and Eve have just eaten the forbidden fruit and hide when they hear God walking in the garden, but He calls out to them:

“Where are you?”

Genesis 3:9b

Isn’t this an amazing statement? God could have said something like, “What have you done?”

Instead, with three words, He reveals the true depth of His love. God seeks connection with us AFTER we fall. He wants to be our friend, even if we don’t accept His friend request.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”

Luke 19:10

God is on a search and rescue mission, not search and destroy.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/15/the-ultimate-mentor/

God Doesn’t Break Toys

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The little boy in my music class pounded the tambourine on the floor. This was AFTER I’d demonstrated to everyone how to properly play our classroom instruments. Visibly frustrated, I confiscated the instrument and commented (in jest): “If you break this tambourine, I’m going to come to your house and break one of your toys.” The offender gazed at me blankly. However, another little boy nearby spoke up matter of factly,

“God doesn’t do bad things. He doesn’t break toys.”

Five Year Old Super Sage

OUCH! My young friend had me there. I sheepishly admitted to everyone that he was right and I was wrong.

Even a shallow dive into the Bible, reveals that God is fair in his dealings with people (Psalm 89:14). Furthermore, He is loving (1 John 4:8), patient (Exodus 34:6), and merciful to the max (Lamentations 3:22,23).

“And the point is?”

God is indeed good, but we are prone to blame Him for the evils that touch us personally. For example, I have a friend who lost faith in God after her father died during a routine medical procedure. She feels her dad’s life was taken; how could a loving God allow this?

Truly, this is a tragic situation, but is God REALLY to blame? Perhaps it makes more sense for my friend not to believe in doctors.

With due respect to those who grieve (that’s all of us at some point), aren’t good and bad simply two sides of the same coin?

“Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”

Job 2:10b

In the quest of making life’s music, there is going to be a broken tambourine or two. Perhaps our goal should be to recognize (that for most of us) our lives contain more lemonade than lemons.

God Knows

There is a way which seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.

Proverbs 16:25

Marie Curie was a highly acclaimed physicist and chemist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first woman to win a Nobel prize, she is most famous for developing and proving the theory of radioactivity.

Unfortunately, the damaging effects of radiation were not yet known, and long term exposure led to Dr. Curie’s premature death.

She was poisoned by her passion.

History is replete with examples of activities that seemed relatively harmless–at the time–but later turned out to be deadly. The health risks of smoking comes to mind.

So how does one know, in the present moment, what passions to pursue or avoid?

Perhaps wise king Solomon, of ancient Israel, provides the answer in one of his many proverbs.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight

Proverbs 3:5-6

In reality, the whole universe is a minefield; one wrong step at any point could leave us maimed or dead. Think for a moment. Just how much of what happens on Earth is actually under our direct control?

We have weather forecasters, not “sure”castors.

Sadly, so many of life’s questions end with the same human answer: I don’t know.

But God does.

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.

Psalm 147:5

I seek today to trust my creator as much as that long-suffering guy in the Bible named Job.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

God Knows.

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https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/09/20/god-knows/

Not Rare, But Rarely Seen

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

Psalm 24:1

The coolest thing happened the other day. One of my co-workers came to tell me there was a luna moth outside! Most of my life I’ve been a butterfly and moth lover, but had never seen a luna in the wild.

I ran outside, and there he was in broad daylight: bright green (most moths are dull in color) and huge! Seeing this mammoth up close was such a treat, because, though not rare, luna moths are rarely seen. Winged adults only live 7-10 days and are mostly active at night.

Seeing one of the largest moths in North America for the first time, after years of searching, motivates me to think about how God works in ways that are not rare but rarely seen.

If the earth and all its contents truly belong to God–since He created them– it’s reasonable to believe He works (mostly unnoticed) to keep things going.

Just like Google, God is a background app we can’t escape.

However, unlike our ‘friend’ in Silicon Valley, the Almighty doesn’t want to control our behavior. He is simply a benevolent Father who promises the best for those who choose to change course (2 Peter 3:9).

There is a way, however, to “hack” the God app and get a bird’s eye view of His activities. Caution: two-factor authentication is required.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood.

Psalm 24:3-4

Clean hands and a pure heart, the two things required to climb the holy north face.

But here’s the small print: it’s impossible without Christ (Titus 3:5-6).

God is as close to us as the free air we breath. His presence is not rare, but rarely seen.

I wonder how many Luna moths and other marvels of God I’ve missed over the years?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/31/not-rare-but-rarely-seen/